My 10-year-old son and I read the book over the course of a week. It was beautiful and magical. Oona Britt, the youngest in a series of daughter of the captain of the Plucky Leopard, was a wonderful character – brave, resourceful, kind and good despite the fact she was bullied by her sisters and ignored by both her mother and who father, who expected their final child to be a boy, after all, the village fortune teller said it would be and she had never been wrong before. Oona was neglected by her family and cast aside.
Despite that, Oona taught herself to read by sneaking into school, taught herself to swim by jumping into the freezing waters of the ocean and perused her dreams of sailing and making her father proud by stowing away on his ship when he leaves to hunt whales.
The story really begins once Oona reveals herself to her father, who threatens to turn his ship around before being persuaded by the navigator, Haroyld, to let her stay.
While Oona, her father and his crew are having one adventure, Mrs. Britt and her other daughters are venturing south so all the girls can be married to rich, southern men.
The stories flip between Oona and her adventures and that of her sisters and her mother.
While Oona’s father, mother and sisters are terrible characters and do awful things to Oona, and to others, there are some really amazing characters in addition to Oona, including Haroyld and the cat Barnacles, whose story is pretty amazing, too.
While there are some awful moments in the book, starting with the neglect and abuse Oona receives at the hands of her family, there are some truly amazing ones as well.
We recently read Woods’ The Boy, The Bird and the Coffin Maker, which was equally wonderful. Read the review here.
A copy of this book was provided by Penguin Random House for an honest review.
The opinions are my own.